Posts Tagged ‘Napoli’

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The first thing we must do before looking at the draw itself is congratulate the northwest clubs for almost monopolising the Champion’s League places.

This year we will be looking for improvement from Everton and West Ham and, if we are going to have another London club this time, we would quite like West Ham to be it. So goodbye again to Arsenal and Chelsea and, with a little luck, Tottenham Hotspur. Welcome to the Europa League AGAIN!

Anyway, the draw has been kind to Manchester City, reasonable with Manchester United and Liverpool and quite tough on Tottenham. Here are the groups which contain the English teams. (more…)

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Five of the big six return to Champion’s League action this week with all of them in a good position to qualify.

The only ones not in a good position to progress to the next phase of this season’s competition are Arsenal, mainly because they are not in it.

They are, however, in a good spot in the Europa League, a competition in which they find themselves competing for the first time in 137 years. (more…)

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1. A Winning Mentality

Wherever Mourinho has been he has won trophies. Beginning with Porto back in his homeland all those years ago he took this unfancied team to Champion’s League glory. Obviously, domestically he had already won the Portuguese league in order to qualify.

Since leaving Porto for Chelsea he has had one success after another. In fact, since his first club, Benfica, back in 2000 he has managed clubs in a total of 765 games winning 505, a win percentage of 66.01%

It must also be remembered that this success hasn’t always been with the biggest clubs, but some of it has. This brings us to the next point:

2. Big Club Management Experience

Mourinho, as we know, has won the Champion’s League with Porto, in Portugal and Internazionale in Italy. He has also won domestic titles in Portugal, Italy, Spain and England. He has proven, unlike van Gaal and even Guardiola, that he can do the business when there is realistic competition around. (more…)

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It is certainly looking that way.

Look at the top teams in Europe outside of the Premier League. Real Madrid now have Zinedine Zidane who, at 43, has just taken over the managerial role. They are, arguably, the biggest team in the world. Whether or not he is successful remains to be seen but it appears that Madrid have taken a leaf from Barcelona’s book by promoting from within.

Luis Enrique is the man in charge of Barcelona. At 45, he is already very successful and, with the team he currently manages, there is no reason to think that the success will dry up anytime soon.

There are now three teams in Spain of course, the third being Atletico Madrid, managed by 45 year-old Diego Simeone. Since his appointment Atletico have seriously challenged the dominance of the big two in a similar way to when a young Alex Ferguson was given the job of breaking the Celtic/Rangers monopoly when he was appointed as manager of Aberdeen. He also got the United job at 45 and the rest is history. (more…)

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When I think back to the great Liverpool teams of the past, I think of Ian St. John, Ian Callaghan, Emlyn Hughes, Tommy Smith, Ron Yeats, Roger Hunt, Kevin Keegan and John Toshack, Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish, Ray Clemence, Graeme Souness, Alan Hansen and even Bruce Grobbelaar. As you will notice I have recorded these as I remember them rather than in any chronological order.

When I think back to the recent Liverpool teams, the players that spring to mind are Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and maybe Robbie Fowler. Of all the ones mentioned, Suarez showed absolutely no loyalty to the cause whatsoever. It can be argued that, as a Uruguayan, he would always feel more at home in Spain and he already had connections with the city of Barcelona if not the club, so it was rather ordained that he would end up there.

The point being that over a thirty year period from the late sixties until the late nineties, all the memorable players were around in the sixties and seventies. What has happened since?

No other team in England was as successful as Liverpool. In Europe, Liverpool are still the most successful English team but have failed to qualify for the top European competition in eight of the last ten years since winning it in 2005. (more…)